Attachment working models and relationship quality in dating couples


The purpose of this module is to provide a brief review of attachment theory—a theory designed to explain the significance of the close, emotional bonds that children develop with their caregivers and the implications of those bonds for understanding personality development.The module discusses the origins of the theory, research on individual differences in attachment security in infancy and childhood, and the role of attachment in adult relationships.One of those surrogates was a simple wire contraption; the other was a wire contraption covered in cloth.Both of the surrogate mothers were equipped with a feeding tube so that Harrow and his colleagues had the option to allow the surrogate to deliver or not deliver milk.Some of the most rewarding experiences in people’s lives involve the development and maintenance of close relationships.For example, some of the greatest sources of joy involve falling in love, starting a family, being reunited with distant loved ones, and sharing experiences with close others.



At the time of Bowlby’s initial writings, psychoanalytic writers held that these expressions were manifestations of immature defense mechanisms that were operating to repress emotional pain.And, not surprisingly, some of the most painful experiences in people’s lives involve the disruption of important social bonds, such as separation from a spouse, losing a parent, or being abandoned by a loved one.Why do close relationships play such a profound role in human experience?That is, the child comes to feel emotionally connected to the mother because she is associated with the reduction of primary drives, such as hunger, rather than the reduction of drives that might be relational in nature.

In a classic set of studies, psychologist Harry Harlow placed young monkeys in cages that contained two artificial, surrogate “mothers” (Harlow, 1958).

If the child perceives the attachment figure to be nearby, accessible, and attentive, then the child feels loved, secure, and confident and, behaviorally, is likely to explore his or her environment, play with others, and be sociable.



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